In The Beginning ~ A Series from Genesis 1 & 2
The Beginning ~ Genesis 1:1-2
As we move into 2018, I wanted to preach through a series from Genesis one and two…
I see two primary if/then reasons for this:
If you are theologically off, even slightly, in the beginning of the biblical narrative, then you have the possibility, or more the probability of ending up very off as you move forward. Think of it this way…Sea journey…
If you cannot trust the reliability of the Bible in the beginning then you are given reason to call into question the reliability of all the Bible.
The word Genesis comes from the Greek word geneseos which is used to roughly translate two Hebrew words: beresit, or “in the beginning” and toledot, which means the generations of or the story of.
With these things in mind, let’s dig into Genesis.
I Authorship & Background
…I am going to stick to what has been understood for millennia from Jewish through Christian scholars and theologians: Moses was the author of Genesis.
Both Jews and Christians include Genesis in the Pentateuch. This word, Pentatuch comes from the Greek meaning “Five Scolls” and includes the first five books of the Old Testament. While there is no claim of authorship within these books, these books are together considered the “Law of Moses” of the “Books of Moses”.
This idea is supported in scripture. → Here are some examples:
Exodus 24:3-4 – “Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Numbers 33:2 – “Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the LORD, and these are their stages according to their starting places.”
Deuteronomy 31:24 – ““When Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book to the very end, Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, ‘Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.’”
We also see that as early as Joshua, what Moses had written became known as the Book of the Law. In Joshua 1:7-8 we read:
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Then in 2 Chronicles we read a reference to the Book of Moses, 2 Chronicles 25:4:
“But he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, “Fathers shall not die because of their children, nor children die because of their fathers, but each one shall die for his own sin.”
In Nehemiah, during the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Nehemiah puts forth this spiritual challenge in Nehemiah 13:1: “On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people.”
…there is → confirmation in the New Testament. Whenever the Law is referenced, it is with the understanding that it came from Moses. One example would be from Jesus Himself when He quoted Old Testament law in Mark 7:10: “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’” (Here is a list of some other examples of Jesus confirming Moses as the author of the Book of Moses: Matthew 8:4, 19:8; Mark 1:44, 10:3, 12:26; Luke 5:14, 20:37, 24:44; John 5:46, 7:22-23)
Why? Why would God inspire Moses, give Moses the history of Creation, the Fall, and the Flood, among other key historical events.
…Regarding creation the primary myths in the region of what we might call the Near East, were the Enuma Elis from Babylonia and the Mashya and Mashyana myth from Persia. Regarding the flood, the dominate myth was the Gilgamesh myth out of Mesopotamia.
These other cultural myths involved polytheism, multiple gods…
I will tell you that there are those, some who profess to be scholars, who would say that these myths actually provided source material for Genesis. That is absolutely false! I believe God inspired Moses to include Genesis in the Book of Moses so that His people would know the true story of Creation and the Flood, as well as, God’s pursuit of humanity during the early history of mankind.
I “In the beginning God…” vs. 1
Key Truths from Verse One:
This is the beginning of all we can know. God was preexistent… In His sovereign plan God created time, spaces and all material things…
God – The Hebrew word here is Elohim…
Created – The Hebrew word here is bara. It is a verb that always has God as its subject…
Heavens and earth – This is a figure of speech to represent all that is…
As a quick note here…
II The Sprit of God
Key Truths from Verse Two:
Formless and void – While in the initial act of creation God set all the elements needed for His creation in place, there was no order to that material.
Darkness – At the beginning of creation while material existed there was no light only darkness.
The deep – This indicates that the earth was first completely covered with a vast primordial sea.
The Spirit of God –What we see is the beginning of the doctrinal truth of the Trinity. The Hebrew here distinguishes this Person of God from Elohim in verse one…
John 1:1-3 states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
What can we take away from this message as we begin this series from Genesis?
First, we can trust that the Bible we have is accurate and authoritative…
Second, while we may disagree on how God accomplished creation, we must agree that God and God alone is the Creator! It is God alone that can create ex nihilo, out of nothing.
Finally, the same God who created the universe is at work in you and me! God has the power and the will to bring about what He desires for you. After all, in Philippians 1: 6 we have this promise: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”